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Culinary CPR: Springtime Rack of Lamb with Minted Pea Puree & Pea Shoot Salad

Summary: Chef Luca Paris joins Dr. Mike to share his recipe for Spring Time Rack of Lamb with Minted Pea Puree & Pea Shoot Salad.
Air Date: 3/23/16
Duration: 10 Minutes
Host: Dr. Mike Fenster
Guest Bio: Luca Paris, Chef
Luca Paris wineGianluca Paris is the Executive Chef and owner of Luca’s Mediterranean Café, a fine dining restaurant, The Market at Luca’s, offering light bistro style fare and gourmet take out and Luca's Culinary Journey Catering in Keene, New Hampshire, where he lives with his wife Lindy and his two children. He is the recipient of many accolades, including “Excellence in Dining” and “Best Service/Wait staff” every year since 2002 from Market Surveys of America, along with “Best Mediterranean Restaurant,” “Best Fine Dining Restaurant,” “Best Caterer in New Hampshire,” and, for four years, “Best Restaurant in the Monadnock Region” from New Hampshire Magazine.

Luca, as he is known to everyone, had a dream of opening his own restaurant since starting as a busboy at a family style Irish pub in New York at the age of 14.  Having been born in Italy, it would have to be a Mediterranean style restaurant and he never lost sight of his dream. He graduated from Johnson & Wales University 1989, where he met his wife of 22 years.

He began his professional career at Doral Arrowwood, a hotel and conference center in Westchester County, New York, but his first experience with his own culinary business began at the age of 22 opening a gourmet store in New York City called Gianluca’s Salumeria. This business flourished and spun off a very successful catering business.  While owning his own businesses, he honed his restaurant skills as the Manager of a fine dining Italian restaurant in Westchester County, New York before moving to Keene, New Hampshire, in the heart of New England where his wife Lindy grew up, to pursue his dream of a Mediterranean style restaurant.  

Luca has always had a love for entertaining through his food so Luca has his own weekly talk radio show, What’s Cooking with Luca Paris, and has had such notable guests as Mary Ann Esposito, host of Ciao Italia and will be a featured chef on an upcoming episode of Ciao Italia. Luca has been a featured chef in the national culinary magazine Culinary Trends. He is a monthly guest on “Cook’s Corner” segment on ABC's WMUR Channel 9 in New England. Luca is also the host of his own cooking show, also titled A Culinary Journey with Luca Paris, locally produced for Cheshire TV, the local cable access station for Keene and surrounding towns and can be seen in the Manchester, New Hampshire area and around the country on cable access stations. His show is one of the most downloaded shows by cable access stations around the nation. Luca has created his own Culinary Journey You Tube Channel, where all the episodes from his TV show can be seen. Luca was also a featured chef on the Resort Network in 2008 and 2009 and is a Chef Ambassador and spokesman for Roland Foods, doing live cooking demonstrations and cooking features on the Roland Foods You Tube channel. Most recently, Chef Luca was selected to compete on the new Food Network show, Guy's Grocery Games, which aired in December 2013 and he won! In 2011 Luca was selected as a New Hampshire Celebrity Chef and nominated for Restaurateur of the year. Luca loves to entertain while teaching about culinary arts. His philosophy is that food should be fun and entertaining and some of the best dishes come from the mistakes! He begins filming his new show, Kids in the Kitchen with Luca Paris, in January 2014.

In addition to his culinary accomplishments, Luca is a serious community supporter and an advocate for charitable organizations. He was on the board of directors of the Keene Chamber of Commerce, and was instrumental in promoting several local restaurants in a special week-long television segments on the local ABC affiliate. He was a founder of the “Keene Snow and Ice Festival” and the reinvented “Taste of Keene” event which supported Meals on Wheels for the elderly. In 2011 and 2012, Luca organized Keene Restaurant week, bringing local restaurants together. Luca has also taught adult culinary courses and has been a guest lecturer at Keene State College. He supports a culinary scholarship that he created, “The Culinary Journey Scholarship Fund,” to help a local high school student going to hospitality or culinary school. He will be teaching classes at the famed Stonewall Kitchen in Maine in the summer of 2014.

Luca was awarded the top honor of New Hampshire Chef of the Year from the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association for 2013.

Luca feels he has just begun his culinary journey and enjoys sharing it with guests and audiences everywhere and is looking forward to his next adventure.
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Culinary CPR: Springtime Rack of Lamb with Minted Pea Puree & Pea Shoot Salad
In this segment, Chef Luca Paris joins Dr. Mike to share his recipe for Spring Time Rack of Lamb with Minted Pea Puree & Pea Shoot Salad.

Spring Time Rack of Lamb

  • 1 rack of lamb (6-8 point)
  • 1 cup mint leaf
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 pinch sugar (raw; optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 and place the rack of lamb in a baking dish. Season the lamb with salt and pepper and allow to rest before roasting. Coat the lamb with the mint paste (directions follow) and marinate for 15 minutes.

Mint paste: Place the mint, garlic, vinegar and sugar in a food processor and work until a paste forms.

Add the olive oil slowly to the mixture adding a little more if the mixture seems too thick-if the mixture seems too runny, add a few more mint leaves & season to taste. Coat the lamb with the mint paste and marinate for 15 minutes.

Roast the lamb for 20 minutes for rare or 25 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from the oven and cover with aluminum foil. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, then cut into individual ribs and serve.

Minted Pea Puree

  • 1 medium new potatoes
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup mint leaf
For the puree first boil the potato till tender and then add the peas and cook for another 4-6 minutes when the peas are tender as well. Drain and place in food processor along with butter and mint leaves, then pulse for a short time so mixture is smooth. At this point you can leave a little texture or I like to push it through a strainer so it comes out smoother.

Pea Shoot Salad

  • 2 handfuls of pea shoots
  • 1 handful of baby kale
  • 3tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4tsp lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Wash pea shoots and baby kale and dry well, then cut baby kale into strips and pea shoots into bit size pieces if needed. Make a quick emulsification of the oil and lemon with a drizzle of warm water. Season with salt & pepper. Toss with the greens and serve over the lamb chops.

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